Making the switch to a solar system can help you lower or eliminate your monthly electric bills while also reducing your environmental footprint. However, before you begin installing a solar system, you must first ask a very important question: “How many solar panels does my home need?”
Of course, to accurately calculate this number, you will need a professional assessment, but you can estimate the size and cost of your system based on your electricity bills, energy needs, and your available roof space.
Our team at SolarMates shows you how.
Factors That Influence the Number of Solar Panels You Need
To determine how many solar panels that you need to power your home, several factors must be considered. These factors include:
Size of Your Home and Available Roof Space
Larger houses consume more electricity, so they will generally need more solar panels. However, they also have the roof space that is necessary for larger solar panel installations. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, for example, a 2,000-square foot home with energy-efficient appliances may consume less power than a home that is 1,200 square feet with older less-efficient appliances.
Further, your roof conditions might limit the number of solar panels that your home can handle. If you have a chimney, skylights, or other fixtures on your roof, you’ll have to install your panels around these fixtures. Similarly, areas of your roof that are shaded by trees or buildings are not suitable for solar panels.
Amount of Direct Sunlight in Your Area
Where more sunlight is available, there is more energy that can be converted into electricity. The yearly output of each solar panel is higher in states like Florida, Arizona, and New Mexico since they get more sunlight than less sunny regions like New England.
Keep in mind that homes in sunnier climates will generally need fewer solar panels.
Number of Residents and Amount of Energy Usage
Households with more family members normally use more electricity, and this means that these households will likely need more solar panels to optimize their solar energy production.
Energy usage is one of the most important factors to determine how many solar panels you will need. If your home uses around 13,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year and you want to go 100% solar, you must install a system that can generate that amount of power.
Type of Solar Panel and Efficiency Rating
High-efficiency solar panels create more watts of energy per square foot, which means that you will need to install fewer solar panels to reach your energy goals. In general, monocrystalline, and polycrystalline panels are the most efficient and have higher efficiency ratings than thin-film panels.
Read More> Types of Solar Panels Compared
Estimating How Many Solar Panels You Need
So, based on the above factors, how many solar panels does the average home need? Without a professional assessment, you will need to figure out two basic things: how much energy you use, and how much energy your panels will produce.
The average American household uses around 10,649 kWh of energy each year. However, this number will vary depending on the state.
- Homes in Louisiana have the highest average consumption at 14,787 kWh a year.
- Homes in Hawaii have the lowest average consumption at 6, 298 kWh a year.
To estimate how much energy your house uses annually, add up the kWh reported on your last 12 power bills. These numbers will fluctuate throughout the year.
Solar Panel Specific Yield
After you determine how many kWh of electricity that your home uses annually, you need to figure out how many kWh are produced by each solar panel during a year. This varies by type of solar panel, roof condition, and peak sunlight hours.
To estimate how many kW is needed to power your house, divide your annual kWh consumption by the specific yield of solar capacity.
For example: Say your home needs 15,000 kWh of energy in a year, and the solar panels you are interested in have a specific yield of 1,500 kWh in your location, you will need a solar system with a size of around 10 kilowatts.
Ok, So How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?
Once you know the system size that you need, you can check your solar panel wattage to figure out how many panels to purchase for your solar panel system. To do so, multiply your solar system’s size by 1,000 to obtain watts, then divide by the wattage of each solar panel.
Most high-quality solar panels have an output of 330W to 360W, but less efficient panels can be as low as 250W.
So, if you need a 10-kW solar installation and your solar panels have an output of 340W, you’ll need 30 panels. This calculator looks like this: 10,000W/340W = 29.4 panels.
Harness the Sun with SolarMates
Ready to install a solar system on your roof? Our team at SolarMates can help! We can calculate how many panels you need to power your home so you can gain energy independence. Gain more energy freedom! Get a no-hassle quote for a solar array from SolarMates 727-316-6000!